Dinner and a movie

Introductions and arrivals


The last few times you have met me, We have been interrupted by various things. Dragons. Drama. Dust mites. Whatever it has been, it's been exceedingly annoying. I find you to be an interesting person, engaging and entertaining. I would be very honored if you might look past the projections of farce that seem to follow me, and perhaps joined me at my home tonight for dinner. I'll be cooking. If you choose to attend, just respond to the gentleman bearing this note in the affirmative, and with any dietary requirements you have."

- Johny Wulfson'.

Dear Mr. Wulfson,

I suppose I cannot fault you your brazant and foreward personality. My ribs bore the brunt of our mutual encounter with the dragon, while books undid us earlier this evening. If you can promise to keep the forces of nature and the universe from conspiring against us, then I will chance dinner. However, please don't cook anything excessively complex, I wouldn't wish to cause any tears in the fabric of space-time.

Endeared as always,
Dr. Einhart.

Marcus will guide the woman up the private elevator of the luxurious vegas-style casino complex. He's a dour young man, and if asked will explain that he is an employee of Mr. Wulfson. He seems to enjoy working for Johny though, without exactly saying what he does.

When he brings you in to the penthouse suite, one of very few, it's a very impressive view that looks out over downtown, only a few miles away. The city spreads out in the distance, a kalidiscope of color and perspective. Joining this, is the savory smell of curry blended with the aroma of Nan as it bakes in the oven. Johny is in the kitchen, a white hat on his head and an apron that says 'Don't kiss me, the Roux will burn'. Additionally, he's also wearing pants, shoes and a shirt, which promises to make dinner much easier to enjoy.

Zoey is also wearing pants and shirt. Impressive! At least this wasn't an all-naked rave party. Zoey does look, however, as pretty as she always did. The army fatigues don't go away however, and it's quite likely the woman had no other type of pants. They do fit her overall appearance quite well however, giving her that edgy, dangerous look. Her eyes and disposition betray a much kinder and gentler person however, as does her way of speaking(intelligent, professional, funny), her way of moving(gentle, careful, steady), and also her personality(unwavering, conviction, willful, tolerant).
As Zoey steps inside the place, her voice immediately carries accross the suite, "Good afternoon, Mr. Wulfson. Thanks for having me."

It's immediately clear that there is biting sexual ennuendo that could be spoken, but if he notices it, he bypasses it. He opens the oven, peering inside to where the Nan and some other dishes are finishing off. The smell of baking bread and roasting meat wafts out. "Thank you for coming." he says quietly, peering inside, before closing it. He turns to her, taking off his oven mitts and offering a hand over. He's abusing the comma today, so really, you'll have to forgive him.

"After this afternoon, I felt horrible. I can't always control life, but I can make amends for it, or at least show my desire as more than simply throwing books at you."

Zoey's eyes follow Johny closely, almost studying his movements and gestures. "Should flying books curtail the enjoyment of my day, I should likely set my standards much lower," she says, smiling. "I'll be more careful with my auditory assault on you while you are so unsuspecting. I likely brought it upong myself." With that, Zoey lets her gaze wander throughtfully, taking in the sights of Johny's suite. It was certainly impressive for her, as she had spent such a long time in squalid conditions.
The woman sniffs the air, eyes squinting a moment.. her gaze falls on Johny again, facing someone sidelong. "Smells spicy," she says. "Asian, or Indian?" she asks pointedly.

He pauses to stir a vindeloo on the stove. "Indian, but Anglo-indian. Popular recipes from Indian restaurants all across Great Britian. I'd just have flown you to london, if I thought it would help my chances of not lookign too much like an ass, but I felt giving you some warning before kidnapping you for cross-continental adventures would be better." He pauses to taste the sauce from a wooden spoon.

"Mmm. Try this. It's spicy, chicken vindeloo, but I have other dishes if you don't like spice."

They Say That In The Army, The Food Is Mighty Fine.

Zoey laughs somewhat, bringing the back of her hand up to her lips, partially covering her mouth. "Mr. Wulfson, I spent eight years eating army rations on a basis so regular to be borderline insanity. Spice is a nothing less than a luxury," she says, clearly amused. "On a good day, the other men might cook up beans, or soup. "So, you cooked all this entirely by yourself, hm? I'm impressed," she admits truthfully.

Of course she does sample the food offered, bringing the wooden spoon up to her round, full lips, sampling. Her left eyebrow perks while sampling. ".. I can really taste the garlic and ginger in this." she says, as though these were tastes long ago forgotten in some deep, dark underground vault where all the worlds good food was kept forever. "It's actually quit extraordinary."

There's a vault right next to that one, where the genuine smiles of pride and craftsmanship are kept. One of them however, has escaped and made its way to his features as he bows his head. "I spent some time in the CIA. Clearly, I have remembered my lessons well." He takes the spoon back, running it through a pot holding nothing but boiling water, before shaking it dry to stir another dish (Butter chicken, a soft, creamy style of curry).

"And I understand the military chow thing. Did my turn in the service of my nation, yessir. The Chow in the CAS is legendary in its badness. Lowest bidder -indeed-."

Zoey smirks, "You worked for the CIA? I guess that explains why mystery and intrigue follows you everywhere." She knew he likely meant Cullinary Institute of 'America', but that doesn't stop her from being British and acting it. During the conversation Zoey curiously watches Johny doing his thing, a little intrigued by it. In all honesty, Zoey couldn't cook to save her life. In that way perhaps she seemed quite unwomanly when paired with her other unfeminine traits.
"'And remember that your gun was made by the lowest bidder," Zoey quotes, remembering some archaic Military saying.

Johny actually meant Amsterdamn, but you know, whatever floats the boat. "Oh, naw. I did some time for the CAS DIA however. Same thing for the most part, only less funded, less respected and vastly less feared. I did mostly freelance shit. Nothing big. I'm a southern boy, born the day Aztlan invaded Texas. Can't work for them yankees, no ma'am. It'd be like an Englisman working for the french!" he declares.

"Hmm. Try this." He says then, offering a spoon full of Kheer for her to taste, a sort of rice pudding boiled in milk and sweetened with cardamom and sugar. "And this, I assure you, was not made by the lowest bidder.

Zoey feings shock, "** * ** ** * ****." Clearly french. (What horror! Working for frenchies!). Zoey laughs softly. "I only ever really lived in Lambeth. Spent my whole life there, stayed there even while I was in the service," she says, her voice delicate, almost willowly, fragile as she talks about the subject of Lambeth. An otherwise unrecognizable tone for her to normally take.
"Oh my, I think you may be trying to spoil me," says Zoey after spooning a bit of the desert mix. "So, I suppose it might seem succinct of me to ask if your chosen profession was 'Chef', however I have a biding suspician that.. such is not the case," concludes Zoey.

Johny chuckles amusedly at the french, returning in the same language. "Non, je ne suis pas un chef. Qu'est-ce que je suis est un problme solver. Certaines personnes ont des problmes, je les rsoudre. Parfois, avec un sourire, un remaniement d'une part, et le signe d'un contrle, mais d'autres fois avec quelque chose d'un peu plus vidente." His french has a very clear Montreal accent to it, the sort of thing one would find in a native speaker of the realm.

"And spoiling you, my dear." He glances over to her with a smile. "Is entirely the point."

Zoey seems pleased with something, smiling deeply, "Alors, Mr. Wulfson, tes-vous aussi d'un psychologue?" Zoey has noticeably less accent, but certainly still a British one despite this. "Here I thought your intentions were entirely innocent. Had I known I was falling into the trap of an expert Casanova, I may have told your charming associate to deny you the chance to cook such splendid food for me."
Zoey looks around the room again, for a place to sit. "Do you have anything to drink?" she asks, and adds no emphasis on the word, making the choice of drink entirely up to Johny in this case.

Stirring the pot now once again, finally, he removes it from the heat to settle. "Actually." he says simply. "I do possess a Masters in psychology with a specific emphasis on the manors and ways in which people differentiate from those around them. I am a man of many talents, not all of them nice, and none of them pure." he says with a grin.

HE looks over to her, removing his hat and setting it aside. "As to innocence. I am many things. That is alas, not one of them. For drink! Ah, yes. Do you wish Red or white, a summer cordial, perhaps a bit of Mead or something harder?"

"Red Wine," she says quickly. She needed to avoid the hard stuff. Too much of it recently. "So then, Mr. Wulfson, in your professional opinion, what way do I differentiate myself from others?" She laughs again then, "On second thought, this conversation sounds far to existential over such a lovely dinner. I wouldn't wish to ruin your opinion of me and eternally brand myself as a pseudo-intellectual blow-hard." She seems to mean this in the sincerest sort of way. She did enough medical talky talky on 'Trix forums she frequented without the need to sound like an English major elsewhere.
Zoey turns away from Johny a moment, walking a few languid steps in a random direction, eyes panning around the room. "I don't suppose you have any interest in magical phenomena, do you Mr. Wulfson?" asks the woman, casually. Though it was likely too direct and poignant a subject to be a casual question.

That, is a very odd question and while he doesn't look at her immediately, the tell of someone who's been piqued, it's got his attention. He tries to roll it cool, tries to play the slow hand. "Thats an odd question." Says he then, glancing in to a nearby shiny surface to keep track of the womans position in the room. If she's smart, she'll see that almost every area of the room is visible in one form or another from any other part.

"What kind of things are you talking about? I know a degree of theory, and I talk to magi occasionally… but magic itself, I'm blind to."

Zoey isn't quite privvy to the layout of the room and it's devious design. Zoey's face, as Johny will see, doesn't look anxious, or tense. Curious, at best. "The woman at the library, Ms. Blaire, mentioned magical phenomina as a research subject, and seemed to be a friend of yours. I was just curious if you shared her same interest in the subject," she says. It seemed a 'reasonable' enough connection, though Zoey was indeed hiding an ace in this case. Her face really didn't indicate as such however.
Laughing, "The dragon Illusion was quite a shock as well, from earlier. Did you know the person who used the spell?" she asked, remembering him taking charge of the whole affair. Zoey's voice really does a good job of playing this off as casual conversation though. Unless Johny is really trying hard to detect otherwise.

Johny flicks his eyes over to Zoey, being the sort of man who pays attention to the flow of language around him. It's like a sword match between the pair of them, and this time her defense is as good, if a little better, than his offence. He turns to her, offering a smile. "Ms. Blair is a friend of mine, yes. We've worked together in the past, solving the occasional problem. She's a good woman, in her way. Damn shame she's a lesbian, but thats the breaks in this world. As for magical phenomonia, they interest me, yes."

Zoey turns and faces Johny, smiling. "Oh? It comes as no surprise I guess, in light of the recent events." For now, Zoey eases up on the subject, picking something else to discuss, satisfied with her efforts to excise information from the man. She wouldn't be so interested in doing so had he not gone to such lengths to conceal it. Zoey's bright green eyes and surprisingly intense stare showed the eyes of a woman with no secrets to hide, no shame to conceal.
".. So, Mr. Smith seems an interesting sort of character. I had a chance to introduce him to some acquaintences of mine the other day after you left. Is he a good friend of yours?"

Johny turns to look at her, his own eyes holding no trace of backing down from her stare. He watches her for a long, pregnant moment, heart beats stretching on. "Recent events. Yes. The dragon." He says after a moment. He watches her still, his gaze an almost tangible thing.

"Mr. Smith." he says again, trying to remember who he introduced as Mr. SMith. "Oh! Slinger, yeah… He's a good kid. Good kid. Powerful magi too. One day, that kid will shake the pillars of heaven."

"He's not as old as he looks, I suspect," Zoey concludes, folding her arms, thumb gingerly placed on her chin. A common thing for her, a symbol of her deep thought process. Zoey hasn't anything else to really ask Johny or talk about at this point. Nothing that wouldn't delve into subjects she's chosen to leave along for the time being. "Still, Slinger seems a rather.. Atypical sort of name." She wondered if perhaps Smith was even any part of his real name. another curiosity, perhaps.

Johny glances at Zoey, a grin coming to his lips. "Honey, in this town, ain't no one as old as they look. Let me just tell you that -right- off the bat. Elves age so goddamn slow, when I'm in my grave from old age, SLingger will be hitting maybe, mid twenties in appearance. I've known him nearly a decade. And he's always looked that old."

Smirking, amused by this, "So, Mr. Wulfson, does that make you potentially old enough to be my father?" she asks. Zoey was clearly in her late twnties, early thirties at the most. "What is truly a curious thing, is how one feels about this fact. I'm not sure I can decide whether it is a blessing, or curse to live the full life of an Elf. Theoretically, hundreds of years, though without any real heuristic evidence to support that claim, who could say. Perhaps it is a mystery for our great, great grandchildren to plunder."

Johny glances over at Zoey. "POtentially, yes." he says without shirking from that. "I could be an elf with bobbed ears. I could have had a leonization. I could have been in Cryostasis for several years. I could be an old man but have convincing plastic surgery. I could be a free spirit amused by human form. I could be a dragon. I could be so many things with an enhanced lifespan. tHere are many potentialities to make me old enough to be your father." he says with a grin as he moves for plates. "Dinner time!"

Zoey seems glad to see the plates, and by extension the food. It would segue well into her inevitable line of questioning. "Lovely! I haven't eaten since this morning," the woman says, voice genial, kind. "I fear the aroma of your meal may have driven me catatonic had I been denied the pleasure of tasting it much longer." Sadly, the taste from earlier was at best, foreplay. Zoey needed to go all the way now, and couldn't turn back from it.

Johny glances over at the woman as he grins, ladling fresh steamed rice on to a plate. It should be noted, no where in the house does a damn thing say 'soy' or 'faux' or anything like that. He's cooking with real food, real meat, real spices. Probably cost a small fortune. But then, so did the view.

He places several flavors of curry in small ceramic pots to retain heat, each with chunks of lamb, beef and chicken adding heft and flavor to the curries. A good deal of fresh vegitables in another pot and these are placed on the table alongside.. He reaches in to the oven with one hand, his left, and pulling out several fresh flats of Nan impregnated with garlic and other spices. He gestures to the table as he sets the nan and plates down.

"Well. Come. Let us join in the estatic joy of palatial congress."

Dinner Is Served

Zoey sits down at the dinner table provided, amused as always, "Aye, let's eat some bloody grub," she says, words decidedly simplistic, though her tone unable to shake off the required level of sophistication to sound anything but highly educated and classy. As Zoey prepares to say something else, she notices something rather odd. 'He's putting his hands in the oven withou mitts….!!!! WAIT' Zoey shouts the word in her own mind, though this fruitless act produces no verbal response. She jerks up from her seat, but notices that he seems otherwise fine. She can't decide whether to mention it or keep her mouth closed. After all, if he had cybernetic prosthetics, it would be rude. Something a Doctor was keenly aware of.

«Auto-Judge[]» Johny (#799) rolls French Wines + Task Pool: 3 + 3 (Cooking Complimentary):
2 2 2 3 3 3 3 5 9 9

Johny grins to her as he sets the hot-plate down without any seeming wound to his hand. "Bloody grub indeed. Come on, step right up, I have plenty of food." He says, setting out plates and utensils. He turns then, to a cabinet set in the wall, looking like a small refrigerator. He opens it, eying the bottles there. "A nice light lambrusco, almost sparkling in its character, fruity overtones. Not sweet, not tart, but somewhere in the middle and quite drinkable." He says, pulling the bottle out with a scraping of metal on glass.

«Auto-Judge[]» Zoey (#6237) rolls Quickness vs TN 6:
1 2 4 7 10 17 = 3 Successes

Zoey's chair teeters on it's center of gravity, balanced on it's hind legs and ready to fall back thanks to her quickly and forcefully standing up so suddenly. The chair is about to fall back but Zoey notices and catches it before doing so, preventing herself from looking a fool, perhaps. "Sounds lovely," she calls back to him, steadying the chair and setting it level. She breathes a sigh. All this mental dueling wasn't usually her thing, good as she may be at it. Strung out.
Zoey makes her way to the food, setting her plate down and alotting sections of her plate into very distinct quadrants. Some for curry, some for vegetables. A little of all offered. The organization of the food was noticably meticulous. "This smells amazing," she says again.

Johny cracks the seal on the bottle, the cork flying off to land somewhere across the room. Marcus pops his head, almost automatically, out of the hall way. It sounded disturbingly like a gunshot. He quickly returns to the utility room. Two glasses are brought over as he wipes off the neck of the bottle. "I'm really glad you came." He says, pouring the wine then.

«Auto-Judge[]» Zoey (#6237) rolls Reaction vs TN 6:
2 2 3 3 5 5 5 5 10 15 = 2 Successes

Zoey notes the location of the cork as it goes flying, and has the courtesy to go pick it up and set it on the dinner table for Johny. "Put someones eye out like that Mr. Wulfson, and that's never a pretty sight," she says. "I know from experience."
Zoey finishes sectioning food onto her plate and takes her seat once more. She sets her hands, folded, onto the table in front of her while she waits for her host before touching her food. "I might be willing to admit to feeling the same way, given enough time and sufficient help from a glass or two." Of course.. she just admitted to it right there.. HA AH.. See whar I did ther.

Johny chuckles quietly as he settles down, her glass placed next to her, the bottle between them. He's chosen a wine that will compliment the variety of food provided. "What, I'm so charming only alcohol can losten your tongue enough to evidence appreciation for my finer features, features I will note have failed to produce a single sexual ennuendo tonight?" He raises an eyebrow, comically, as he picks up his fork.

It does don on Zoey, just from the mention of it, that she was IN FACT being a cold bitch. She had a reputation for being an expert Anti-Aircraft Gunman with a flawless record of men shot down. Zoey picks up her fork as Johny does and quickly samples some of the available dish: the curry, finding a particular succulent bit of lamb in it. She savors this for one, tentative moment. ".. Lamb," she says, her voice coveting the word, paying hommage to it, savoring even the sound of speaking it.
After taking a few moments to enjoy her curry: "I suppose you may have to forgive me on this matter Mr. Wulfson. It is perhaps, a flaw of mine." She was referencing the comment on sexual innuendo.

Johny pauses, fork midway to his mouth as she tastes the lamb. He dosn't stop eating, but continues forward. That smile, of a proud parent, of a mechanic who saw his car take the checkered, the cook who's food just brought about joy of the mouth. "That said everything I would ever need to hear, Zoey." He says honestly, no trace of subterfuge in his voice.

"As to the Ennuendo… it's fun, but… meh." He says, actually saying 'meh'. "It's not really my thing."

Zoey savors the succulent lamb for several moments longer before ushering a truly pleased sigh. "My mother used to to cook lamb on rare occations, long ago. The last meal I ever ate with my father was a lamb dinner," she says, voice a little distant as her mind reeled back to ancient times long past. She didnt seem teary-eyed or anything, but there was an unmistakable connection there, a connection that likely branched into many aspects of her personality.
"I suppose I should try a bite of something else you've prepared, lest I make it jelous." Zoey samples the other prepared foods.. The Nan, the bread, and washes what she eats down with a healthy swig of win. Another contented sigh. One might expect Zoey didn't eat that well on a regular basis.

Johny slowly, with deliberation, eats. A bite here, a sip there. A careful sort of methodical enjoyment. The kind of man who is savoring each flavor, cataloging it, finding it, enjoying the sensual game of taste. He watches her, a smile on his lips that isn't plastic, but goes to those little lines around the corners of his mouth, just under the eyes.

He refilled her wine glass, and his own, watching her and the way she goes about the meal. "Jeliousy is an undesirable trait in ones Vindaloo, I agree."

All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy

Though perhaps not quite the connoisseur that Johny is, Zoey still savors every bite, and has a rather methodical way of eating herself. The perfectly sectioned quadrants of food were indication enough of that. "Ruins the flavor," Zoey agrees, continuing the joke, typical british flair ever-present in her accent. "Certainly not as bad as vindicated curry, however." Zoey sips her wine again and wonders if now would be a good time…
"Mr. Wulfson," Zoey says, her voice subtle as it approaches the encroaching subject. "I was thinking of something interesting Mr. 'Slinger' had mentioned the other day."…

Johny turns his attention to the woman then, setting his fork down. "What was that?" he asks curiously, reaching for his wine. He watches her now, the smile remaining, but perhaps fading a slight bit as 'business' comes back to mind.

Zoey didn't particularly like it herself. She would like to just sit back and enjoy a nice dinner with a rather charming man, but life didn't often allow for such leniencies. "He seemed to indicate to me that he, and you, were investigating some sort of.. incident with a man named Starks. I believe you may know him as Daemon Starks," she says. In all honesty, she barely knew the guy. Saw him once or twice. Didn't even know how deep into everything he was. She was actually just curious.
And yes, Slinger did tell her that much. Who knows what else the young, energetic lad mentioned.

«Auto-Judge[]» Johny (#799) rolls Willpower for "Don't twitch the eye.":
1 2 2 3 5 9

Johny's features almost tweak. Not quite. But almost. "There was an incident a while back in which Starks found himself on the wrong end of reality. He went to war against some friends of mine. I wasn't involved, but starks found himself on the wrong end of the winning side of that fight. I don't know much about the situation."

«Auto-Judge[]» Johny (#799) rolls Charisma for "I'm really a bad liar.":
3 4 5 9

Zoey perks her eyes. "Interesting. Seems you know more about it than I," she admits truthfully. There was no hidden agenda for Zoey here, no secrecy. Zoey had a relatively clean conscience. "'Nother interesting thing Mr. Slinger mentioned was your mutual involvement in Paranormal research and investigation," she says, laying THAT one out on the table right away.
Essentially, she didn't need to 'fish' for information on the subject before. She already knew. She just wanted to gague Johny's reaction. Zoey's royal flush was well on it's way to taking the game at this point perhaps. Poor Slinger, being the unwitting scapegoat in all this. "Interesting profession. Would you be his outside consultant 'problem solver' in this?"

Johny sighs quietly. In the intelligence world, you are often caught off guard by a new change to the operating rules, the introduction of new facts. The best you can hope to do is learn the new rules and spin the facts to your advantage.

"Slinger, Mr. Smith… has been out of Denver for some time. He's a good man, a better man than I am, Zoey. I'll discuss this with you." He says, looking at her. "but I need to know any answer I give you does not get back to any one elses ears, eyes, or any other sensory appendage. I do not much appreciate my private things discussed. It -irks- me."

And here was, in essence the prize. The victory. The domination of ones wits over anothers. It was, perhaps, the ultimate goal of Zoey's inquiry. Not so much that she wished to plunder other peoples secrets or even get involved with those secrets. Perhaps she herself wasn't fully aware of her own reasons. "Mr. Wulfson, I never asked nor required of you anything more than your honesty and sincerity." Zoey smiles brightly a moment, and takes a healthy drink of her wine, then begins sampling more of her food thoughtfully.
.. then, almost as an afterthought, "Mr. Wulfson I'm almost shocked you would insenuate otherwise." This was, of course, directed at his comment of her discussing this matter with anybody else. With a mouthful of food, her eyes glance up to face Johny, a glint visible there.

His smile doesn't fade. But it wasn't very bright to start with. He's very disappointed in something, and it shows behind his eyes. He looks down to his wine as he takes a sip, hiding behind the glass for the moment. In that brief hint of a sliver of a second, he seems so very much older than his tender age of 30 odd years. SOmething in the bearing and gravitas. He sips the drink then, setting the glass back down.

"Dr. Einhart." he switches to the formal, as she's done. A level of distance rapidly growing between them. He kicks himself now, letting his guard down, letting his hair down. It always happens. He feels human, he tries to reach out and make a connection with another human. That human turns up to be either a lesbian, utterly unsuitable, or in this case… casing him. "What do you want?" HE asks, looking back to her. "I was having a very good evening. Enjoying the meal, the interplay of the wine, the food, the aromas and the -company-, I really was. But then, my guest started asking -strangely- pointed questions. Can we put the dance aside and just get to the point?" He asks, putting the plate forward, the international sign of 'I'm done'.

Zoey slides her plate forward to match, but does take another sip of her wine. "Because, Mr. Wulfson, I have noted your interest in me. You have invited me to your home. You have invited me to meet your 'associates'. You are in ways I do not understand, likely involved in incidents outside my understand, such as with 'Daemon' Starks." Zoey leans forward, eyesing fixed very closely on Johny. "In essence, Mr. Wulfson, I do not LIKE intrigue, I do NOT like mystery, I DO NOT like secrets. I am a woman of science. I am a person who took an oath many years ago to engage in the active preservation of life or the prevention of suffering." Zoey stops a moment, collecting her thoughts. In truth, she did like Johny, but.. "You have the air of a man who hides behind his idenity. Perhaps from 'necessity', perhaps not. I am a candid woman Mr. Wulfson. Quite simply, if you an I are to ever exist as anything but vague acquaintences, I had to make this fact very clear for you."
She sips her wine, sighing. "I've no desire to do you harm Mr. Wulfson. I suspect there is some sort of.. Connection between you and those who I associate with. I'm fully aware of the potential implications of this. So then perhaps I am also persuing and engaging in and preserving my own livelihood if indeed YOU, Mr. Wulfson, meant ME harm. I feel I have made no harm insofar as that is concerned."
She leaves it. At. That. Just stares at Johny now.

Enter: Slinger

At the invitation, Slinger steps into the room. He didn't overhear much, but the posture of the two, the obvious tone in Zoey's voice, the firm nature of it that he overheard even through the door before he knocked, all of those things combine together to make him frown slightly. "I'm sorry — didn't mean to intrude. I can come back another time," he offers, with a friendly — if slightly awkward — smile. The young elf's gaze flicks back and forth between the pair, but ends up lingering on Johny, taking his cue from his friend and associate. Letting his friend set the tone and call the shots.

Johny glances over to Marcus as he leads Slinger in to the area. "Mr. Smith. Pull up a chair. We havn't yet finished the actual dinner yet. That.. is the Lamb Curry, that is the Butter Chicken, that there, is a beef Vindaloo and over here we have fresh Nan. There's Kheer for desert when we are ready." He looking back to Zoey. "I was just discussing with Dr. Einhart your conversation with her the other night…"

Says the man with the wine glass in his hand. "I have approximately 5 fire arms within 2 seconds movement of my current position. If I wanted you dead, you would be. If I wanted to do harm, I would have. Instead, I invited you to dinner and took care and effort to make a meal I thought you might enjoy. I invited you to dinner because I rather enjoy your company."

"I am not going to tell you I don't have secrets, intrigues. I live -at the fucking top of a mob owned casino-. That said? I have -nothing- to do with either of the Luccianos. I have worked with them in the past. I have engaged them in witty repartee. But I do not have any designs on hurting either of them. I have -other issues- at hand that draw my attention. Something more than mobsters and petty city politics."

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls Sorcery + 7 (spell focus) vs TN 6 (to Johny) for "Mindlink, Force 1. TN is 6, need only 1 success.":
1 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 8 = 1 Success

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls Willpower + Sorcery Pool: 5 vs TN 2 (to Johny) for "2S drain.":
1 2 2 2 2 3 4 4 4 5 14 = 10 Successes

Slinger frowns as he hears mention of the conversation the other night, and he thinks back on it, reviewing it in his mind. But he was very, very vague, and said nearly nothing. Or at least, as little as /could/ be said without having to simply refuse to talk about things. Even so, he smiles — but that smile immediately vanishes as he hears the tone in Johny's voice. And that as much as the words brings back certain memories. He had been reaching for some of the food, but that stops him cold, and the young mage suddenly has all of his attention on Johny, staring right at him, hardly even moving. What had seemed like a somewhat tense conversation suddenly has potential to escalate, and Slinger does his best to say nothing, do nothing, that might aggravate it.

Slinger pages: In your mind, Slinger's voice can be heard. "Is there a problem, omae? I told her dick except that I was a mage, but that's hardly any kind of secret. Anybody awakened — and her friend Calavera is — would see that in a heartbeat. But I didn't go into /any/ details." Slinger is actually afraid… afraid that he might have let something slip, but he's also very clearly telling the truth as he remembers it.

Long distance to Slinger: Johny doesn't jerk away at the mindlink. He's had some experiance with them. Much more calm, much more controlled than once long ago. 'She indicated paranormal research and investigation. Intimated other aspects. Started to go in to the starks affair. It was to many unrelated yet pointed inquiries.'

Slinger pages: Slinger actually seems to relax at that. Nothing in there that she got from him. "Never mentioned paranormal research. She asked what I did for Mr. Wulfsson, and I said 'things of a magical nature'. Mentioned I was awakened. And that's it. But that could be /anything/. I've helped doctors heal patients, done guard duty, detective work, could be /anything/. And I told her I was curious about the Starks affair, but she — or that Maria chick — was the one who told /me/ about it. I don't remember which — bumped into the two of them together at the gym."

Zoey sets her chin on her fisted hand. She sighs with a distinct air of exasperation at the mention of weapons. "If you wanted me dead, Mr. Wulfson, I know well enough you wouldn't do the deed in your own home, nor in the public places we have met and frequented." Zoey doesn't seem even vaguely threatened for her immediate life.
"Perhaps then, that is the difference between us, Mr. Wulfson. I have no intrigues, secrets, but work in the clinic at a gym owned by mobsters. I guess that makes us both similar and dissimilar in many ways." She looks down at her food again, and nudges it back her way. It was too tasty not to eat, and she samples one forkfull of it again. Sips her wine, wetting her drying throat.
"IT wasn't my intention to cause you grief, Mr. Wulfson, but I am a surprisingly simple woman with simple desires. My life has been surrounded by intrigue and mystery — two things I'm not fond of as you may recall. Perhaps I was just a little…" She leans forward and raises her voice for the first time all night, "A little bloody fucking tired of it! That includes you, Mr. Lucciano, and even the bloody barmaid at the local pub." Zoey shakes her head. Big mistake coming to the UCAS after all.

Long distance to Slinger: Johny mentally nods. 'I didn't think you would actively give anything away' but there is some level of inborn concern; it's just who he is. 'She's fishing. Inarticulately, but she had enough pieces to concern me. Try the Lamb. It is rather good'.

Johny reaches for his fork now, spearing a bit of chicken on it. "I did not invite you here for intrigue, Dr. Einhart. I did not bring up intrigue, Dr. Einhart. I brought food, wine, pleasant conversation. The intrigues of which you speak, Dr. Einhart, are of your own making." He places the fork to his lips, chewing then the food.

"Why do you think that is, Ms. Einhart?" His facade is back in place. His center restored. He looks to Zoey, tilting his head. "Would anyone like more Nan?"

Seeing as it appears there will be no immediate gunplay, Slinger does indeed try some of the dishes, though he goes for the chicken — more to his liking. Most elves don't even each much in the way of meat, though Slinger was brought up on an omnivorous diet. He helps himself to the chicken, smiling in a friendly manner, and then settles down to eat, before pouring himself a glass of wine. He was brought along for a reason, and he'll just sit here like a good boy until he's addressed. As if he's a piece of furniture. A very awakened piece of furniture, that devours very good Indian cuisine.

From afar, Slinger smiles. "I always worry. I never know what the heck secrets you have, man. Masks inside of masks inside of masks. I love ya, but I'm always afraid to say much of anything. Don't want to ruin things for you. Half the time I don't know what you've told people. I can play along a lot better when I know what's cooking. This is really good, by the way. I'll try the lamb next."

Long distance to Slinger: Johny mentally chuckles. "It gets worse the deeper inside my head you go, man. It just gets worse. I'll tell you about it sometime.

Zoey doesn't seem impressed, just keeps staring, voice returned to it's previous tenor. "I think not. This intrigue as you say, has been as ever present as a thundercloud over a city, Mr. Wulfson. Just because it hasn't been brought up until now makes it no less real. Why didn't you warn me about those I was associating with? Certainly you knew. You never mentioned anything, Mr. Wulfson. You had the answers, the knowledge; I did not. Don't insult me by taking some pretentious moral highground from which you are unduly deserving of in this case. At best, Mr. Wulfson, we are both accomplices." She sips the wine, wetting once again, her chin still resting on her hand, head tilted at a slight angle. Still staring, unwavering.

Johny exhales, reaching for his wine, as Marcus brings a third glass for Slinger. Marcus eyes Slinger, just out of the corner of his eye as he leaves the situation. Elven magi; they are a weird lot. "Dr. Einhart." Says he then. "I expect." he says, looking to her… "YOu to investigate your -own- employers. I find that Paul Lucciano, Pulse is an honorable, likeable and just man. Somewhat full of himself, but we all are. If you choose to roll with the 'Starks Crew', well, you are a big girl and can make your own choices."

"I do not make your choices for you; I do not rob you of the ability to learn for yourself. To use your own perceptions. And let us be clear; you do not sem like you are unknowledgeable about aspects of the world such as the realities of an Italian man who acts like he's don Corleone come to Denver. If I am an accomplice to your ignorance, I offer my apologies."

You paged Slinger with 'So uh.. Where -have- you been?'.

Making a sort of silent 'oh' with her lips, "I see.. So it's okay for 'Dr. Einhart' to look after herself. Quite a mercenary world we're suddenly living in. What happened to 'nice guy serving a delicious meal because he's just so helpful, nice, and charming'? However, when Dr. Einhart does look after herself in her own best interest, ostensibly the situation we have gotten ourselves into, now I am a vilified. If you are going to defend your claim, at least don't masquerade as some sort of saint or martyr." Zoey remains calm. Sincere. She does indeed make herself out to be the hurt party in this particular case. For whatever good it may or may not do.

"When you came in." Says Johny then, reaching for his wine. "I called you Zoey, you called me Johny." He glances after Marcus, then back to the table. "Later, when you started questioning me, you called me Mr. Wulfson. You instituted a layer of formality to the dinner."

"If you want information, Zoey." He looks to her then… "I would have given you what you wanted, with no games, no teasing, tantalizingly unconnected questions. No halting, stutterstep akwardness. If you had just -asked- me, I would have given you anything you wanted. Now, if I was supposed to be looking out for your best interest Zoey…" He tries to bring intimacy back to the fore..

"Run from the Luccianos. Leave the shadows. Get a respectable job that won't have you patching bulletholes in mobsters, setting broken necks or otherwise patching people you might find yourself morally disagreeable with. I find, personally, that doing work of a nature that leaves me feeling -good- about myself… is a good balance."

Pulse — that guy he met. That's part of the Starks crew. In-ter-es-ting. Slinger is learning things all the time. He smiles at Marcus — and his eyes linger for a moment on the Native-American elf — apparently, one of Slinger's weaknesses, if anyone were to know that about him. And for a moment, he might even suspect Johny of having planned that. But then his gaze moves back to the two conversing, before he returns his attention to his food. Doing his best to remain somewhat inconspicuous, and very intentionally saying nothing.

From afar, Slinger watches Marcus depart, and his thoughts are very… un-family-values. "Who's that?" Slinger asks casually. And the interest in his mental 'voice' is obvious. But more on topic, he considers things for a moment, then comments, "She does have a point, you know. Secrecy is such a habit for you that nobody knows if they know the real… whatever your name is this week." Amusement colors his thoughts.

You paged Slinger with 'Johny Wulfson. And that, is marcus. A student, if you will. An intern, perhaps, in higher level intelligence operations. He handles my scuttwork and he learns from me and my people."'.

Johny flicks his gaze for a moment to Slinger at some unspoken comment. There's a heartbeats consideration as he looks back to Zoey.

Zoey could delve even deeper into the subject of how she thought she was still in the right and him in the wrong, but it was a fruitless debate. She shakes her head at this point, "I'm not so sure that is possible, Mr. Wulfson," she says, though can't remember a time she didn't call him Mr. Wulfson after she learned his last name. It was simply a matter of formality for her, actually.
"It seemed legit," she admits. "Mr. Wulfson you have to consider that before coming here I was a military girl. I pulled metal slugs out of men on the battlefield, often while the war still raged around me. I was a University girl. I don't have a sordid past that needs uncovering, no secret government agencies I'm running from. I needed to escape from London, from Lambeth, and came here because of the promise of legit, contracted mercenary work. That dried up, my money dried up, and Mr. Lucciano came bounding into my life every bit as damnably secretive as the rest and offered my work that looked reasonable. Legit location. Legitimate operations… as it turns out, illegitimate customers. Shall I go express my deep displeasure to Mr. Starks or Mr. Lucciano? Hm? Tell them the error of their ways? Tell them I want out of something I felt unable to avoid?" She leaves it at that. That was Zoey's life story, laid bare for anyone to here.
Zoey truly didn't have anything to hide. It wasn't her way.

From afar, Slinger listens to Zoey's words, and lets out a slow sigh. "Why'd ya bring me up here, man? Not sure - you want me to jump in and talk? To tell her what I know? To keep quiet and stay decorative?"

You paged Slinger with 'I wanted to involve you in Dinner. Then things went sideways. I'm sorry.'.

Everyone Show Their Cards

Johny clarifies… "Starks is Lucciano, there are just two luccianos. Starks is a psudonym that Joseph Lucciano uses for his daily business. I suppose maybe it makes him think he's less obvious as a mobster." He shrugs then, refilling his wine and topping off anyone else's glass who needs it. "I would not suggest expressing your displeasure. HOwever, if you want legit work, Denver's a bad place to be. If you want illegitimate work of a nature that will let you sleep well at night?"

He pauses, glancing to slinger..

"I can help you out with that."

Zoey does finally look a little troubled now, her exterior professionalism evaporating somewhat. Zoey was NOT a Shadowrunner, quite simply. She was never a part of the shadows to begin with. Just an unfortunate doctor who ended up on the wrong side of the world without much of a chance to go back. And nothing to go back to besides. "Mr. Wulfson, nowhere in this world is a good place for me to be right now," she says. She doesn't ask him to stop talking though, at least giving him the chance to make his case and say what he intends to say. In the mean time her food now goes untouched, only grapping the wine glass to polish off whats left before being refilled.
Zoey slowly developes a headache.

You paged Slinger with 'That was also an offer to you, Slinger."'.

From afar, Slinger chuckles. "You already know you can rely on me for that kind of work, anytime," he points out. "Do you want me to reassure her? I don't want to interrupt, but I might be able to help. But I may have to say a few things that I know — nothing concrete and specific. But do you like this girl? I mean, do you really like her?"

You paged Slinger with 'I think like may be a strong word at this point in time, but I'm willing to spool out the line and see where you go. I trust you won't reveal anything overly awkward, like my fetish for Madagascarian pigmy sheep.'.

From afar, Slinger smiles. "Nothing concrete and specific. But things she's probably already figured out."

Long distance to Slinger: Johny nods. "Do your thang."

Slinger clears his throat, and turns his attention to Zoey. "I've known Johny a long time," he says quietly. "I've known him by… what, at least four different names? Enough that I have trouble keeping track of him. I don't know if any of the names I know is the name his parents gave him. I'd guess it isn't. But yet I count him as one of my closest friends in the world. And it's because… well, you probably are new enough in town you don't know the name 'Slinger'. That's my street name. That's the name I use when I run in the shadows. And no, Smith isn't my real name, either. Real names have power — they link to records, they give KE or Lone Star a way to knock on your door, to look for you."

Slinger pauses to fish out his cigarettes, glancing at the others in the room before actually lighting up. "This is a fragged up world we live in. Freedom is an illusion, and the strong prey on the weak. To do /good/ in this world, you have to stay in the shadows. You have to live in the cracks in the mortar. You have to stay below the radar. There's the law, sure — but whose law? The corps, or the governments they've bought? I bet it's against the law for you to treat somebody for a gunshot wound without calling Lone Star… but you do it anyway, because it's the right thing to do. Because you're a doctor and you're not going to let a silly law stop you from doing the right thing." He swallows. "I've known Mr. Wulfson for years. And he does the right thing. Not always the easy thing — not always the legal thing. But what he does… it's almost always the /right/ thing. And that counts for something in my book, especially in this world we live in." He lifts his gaze back up from his glass toward Zoey, and then takes a slow breath. "Secrecy for him… it's part of his instincts. It's part of what kept him alive. Takes a long time for him to let somebody in… but I've seen what lies underneath. I've /seen/ it," he says, gesturing toward his eyes in a meaningful way.

He swallows once. "Anyway. Sorry for interrupting."

Slinger pages: Sorry, man. Hope I didn't give too much away there.

You paged Slinger with 'Naw, its cool. Nothing there that's terribly revealing.'.

Johny answers honestly.. "It's not. Tell you the truth, Slinger, even I don't know that one."

Zoey does finally look a little troubled now, her exterior professionalism evaporating somewhat. Zoey was NOT a Shadowrunner, quite simply. She was never a part of the shadows to begin with. Just an unfortunate doctor who ended up on the wrong side of the world without much of a chance to go back. And nothing to go back to besides. "Mr. Wulfson, nowhere in this world is a good place for me to be right now," she says. She doesn't ask him to stop talking though, at least giving him the chance to make his case and say what he intends to say. In the mean time her food now goes untouched, only grapping the wine glass to polish off whats left before being refilled.
Zoey seems only mildly irate at the moment, though as she listens to Slinger, her temperament slowly changes. Curiosity, focus, insight. Every word is absorbed in it's fullest, and it did carry meaning for her. It was a more wholesome and meaningful exposition than anything she had EVER heard from anyone and in her book, that carried a lot of weight. In a way, she held more revere for Slinger in five minutes than Johny manages to muster over the course of days.
.. Something Slinger says causes the woman's expression to wander for a moment though, her eyes momentarily distant, seeing something in the room that no one else saw. The stressful situation she has been in for weeks now conspired to lower the already fragile gates of her subconscious, letting loose a specter into her thoughts, polluting her mind with memories better forgotten. After fully ten seconds she snaps out of her, head lightly shaking, eyes refocusing.. A great sigh escapes her now-increasingly addled body.
Zoey slowly quotes something that comes to mind. Perhaps relevant, perhaps not, but it slips from her mouth faster than she can control it, "Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world." She blinks, looks between Slinger and Johny. "What words to you bear, Mr. Wulfson?"

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls Intelligence vs TN 4 for "Astral perception on Zoey… she has me worried :)":
1 4 4 5 5 7 = 5 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#69) rolls Aura Reading vs TN 4 for "Complementary…":
2 3 5 5 = 2 Successes

What do you do when the world conspires against you? It's an unenviable position for the old spy to be in. He doesnt say anything. Words have power. He swallows the last of his wine… setting the glass to the side then. He rises one hand rising to smooth down his shirt, brushing away any errant crumbs. He looks to both of them, Slinger and Zoey, then gestures to the patio. He, without word, heads for the door to the expansive, luxurious penthouse level outdoor area.

To The Patio

Something catches Slinger's attention, causing his gaze to lift back from his wineglass. A change in breathing, something perhaps even beyond the mundane. But his blue eyes are upon her once again, searching, looking deeper, a hint of concern on his youthful features. And he rises to his feet as Johny steps toward the patio, but instead of following immediately, he keeps his gaze on Zoey. And he starts to lower his hand to her shoulder — but stops just short of making physical contact, respecting that barrier for the moment, though ready to offer support if it's needed. And then, when she moves to the balcony, he follows, pausing only to light his cigarette and inhale a deep drag of the poisons into his youthful body.

Johny takes the stairs up to the uppermost deck-level, the patio proper, and its expansive, almost regal view of Denver. He pauses then, at the edge of the patio, looking out over the city. A cigarette comes from his pocket, tapped out of a pack with practiced ease. A second later, a lighter sparks, illuminating his face.

"Words have power. And so do secrets. This is Denver. 6 nations, 7 sectors, 10 mega-corporations, 29 AA level corporations and a hundred thousand others. 9 draco-forms, 23 distinct free spirits of Kreiger-level 10 or greater. There are 5 active Shedim, one insect hive, 9 branches of various known hate-groups, at least one member of the Blood-Magic Gestalt and at this time, 5 cults or quasi-religious organizations under investigation."

"Last year… there were 5 outbreaks of HMHVV resulting in the formation of at least 14 stage-3 infections. Two instances of untrained blood magic and a whole slew of other, more minor issues. Words can change the world. You are so -very- right." He glances back to her. "You want to know the words that changed my world, Zoey?"

Something catches Slinger's attention, causing his gaze to lift back from his wineglass. A change in breathing, something perhaps even beyond the mundane. But his blue eyes are upon her once again, searching, looking deeper, a hint of concern on his youthful features. And he rises to his feet as Johny steps toward the patio, but instead of following immediately, he keeps his gaze on Zoey. And he starts to lower his hand to her shoulder — but stops just short of making physical contact, respecting that barrier for the moment, though ready to offer support if it's needed. And then, when she moves to the balcony, he follows, pausing only to light his cigarette and inhale a deep drag of the poisons into his youthful body.

Zoey unmires herself from the swamp of her mind enough to focus on whats at hand. As she raises from her chair, there may be brief contact between Slinger and Zoey, but it lasts only moments and she thinks nothing of it, moving at a lesiurely pace toward the balcony. All-in-all, her mood seems to be deteriorating rather then improving, her eyes still somewhat distant. It seemed almost like she had to put forth concerted effort to keep her mind on the now.
Out on the deck, she stands somewhere between the edge of the deck and looks out at the view as Johny speaks, considering his words carefully. Intrigueing, but.. "What would that be, Mr. Wulfson," she asks, voice more distant than is normal for her, though at least WITH the conversation. The topic of conversation didn't seem to be improving her condition, either, though much of this internal conflict comes off as nothing more than moodiness on the outside.
Except for Slinger, of course.

"Two phrases. The first, was simple." A heartbeats pause. "I need help." he says then, looking back to the world at large. "Very few men in this world can claim to have gotten a personal recorded message from a person who died a decade before sending that message out, much less from a dragon. So when those words were spoken to me… it changed my world, fundamentally. It gave me something to fight. Something to apply myself to."

"The second phrase…" he chuckles quietly. "Good night, daddy. I had a daughter. She was the apple of my eye, I say with no reservation, and no sense of shame. Hearing her say that every night as I put her to bed? Gave me something to fight -for-. SOmething -worth- slaving away day after day against…" he gestures with his cigarette-holding hand, two fingers extend, to the city beyond… "All that. All that and more I can't tell you but he…" A gesture to Slinger… "Is coming to understand. Because you can't be told. Only see. So when I tell you, Zoey.. that I don't give one rats ass about the petty mafia politics of the world below us? I don't. My eyes, my abilities, are up here. Trying to make a difference, not just a buck."

Slinger listens to the words, and lets out a slow breath. He will have to ask about the first one — yet another secret that he never knew about. And something that might have its own personal meaning for him. But he finishes his cigarette with a deep, lung-killing drag, before he speaks next, his voice strangely muted.

"I… hate to eat and run. Wonderful meal. But I have a job I have to do… and it starts soon. Gotta get back and get prepped. Gotta break the law to do some good… humanitarian aid to people that the world would rather forget about. You asked once what I do with Mr. Wulfson… that is part of it, ma'am. Doing what needs to be done, because nobody else has the courage to risk doing it." He pauses for just a moment, considering his next words very carefully. "If you ever want to talk, though, I'm around. You have some secrets of your own, much as you might claim otherwise. And… I will tell you this. Yes, you can trust Johny with them. Nothing he hasn't seen before, heard before. He's seen worse, whatever it might be. Thanks again for dinner — it was delicious."

Johny tips his invisible hat to SLinger. "Good night, Slinger. You are always welcome here." Offers Johny, pulling a drag off the cigarette.

From afar, Slinger smiles through the link. "Go easy on her. She's got some things in her past that… well, pretty painful stuff. I don't know the details, but I do know that she could really use a friend. A real friend. The kind of friend I know you can be. Good luck, man."

You paged Slinger with 'Good night, Kaivan.'.

From afar, Slinger smiles. "G'night, Sam."

Exit Slinger

It was certainly a lot to take in. The entirety of the night culminated to this. It was still secrecy of a type, mostly. It was still steeped deeply in the world of shadows from which she was currently reeling from. The woman slowly approaches the edge of the deck, looking down at the world from the magnificent vantage-point. Her temperment remained about the same as before now. Regathering some of her usual professionalism and courtesy she manages to Slinger this, "Perhaps we will, Mr. Smith.. We'll.. see." She purposfully chooses to refer to him this way.
She wonders then, suddenly, what exactly Slinger means by 'You have secrets of your own'. What did he know? she wonders. Zoey turns to look at the young Elf, eyeing him carefully a moment, letting her gaze flicker from him, to Johny a moment. Her eyes narrow.. then she turns and faces back out at Denver again.
"I'm intimiately familiar with the state of our world, Mr. Wulfson. I've lived in it long enough to be wounded by it's calculated indifference. What then do you propose to do to bring balance to our beleugeured world."
Essentially, she was down to choosing the lesser of evils..

Johny keeps his gaze on the darkness, watching the twinkling lights of Denver. "You won't ever get away from secrets, Zoey. They are simply facts we don't know, generally, something people don't want you to know. The cock-joking wisecracking happy-go-lucky ass hole you saw out there, in the city. Thats just a face. Keeps people from looking to deep at me. Because I have other work I need to be able to do without getting in to conflicts with every swinging dick in Denver. I spent a decade killing people for profit." He says, looking over to her.

"I spent 40 years before that, becoming the perfect tool of secrets. Getting them, protecting them. Killing those who had them. What have you. You want to know who I am, without reserve? I'm not running from intelligence agencies. I -am- an intelligence agency. Me and my people, we form a very very thin line between us here… and whats out there. I lost my family in Chicago, when the Invae came." he shrugs then, looking to her, tossing the cigarette off the side of the building. "My wife Julia, my daughter Alicia, my mom, my dad, my fucking dog."

"So here I am. A monster reformed. Balance isn't my goal. Defense, protection, understanding, is. For only through those things, Zoey, does humanity have even half a chance against itself, and against what lurks as magic levels rise."

«Auto-Judge[]» Zoey (#6237) rolls Willpower vs TN 8:
3 3 4 10 = 1 Success

Zoey watches Slinger leave out of the corner of her eye. For some reason, the absense of him left her feeling just slightly more vulnerable, being alone. She dismisses the feeling quickl, rather focusing on the lights of Denver blinking below, oblivious to both her and Johny. Oblivious - indeed uncaring - to their conversation and it's meaning. "This was never a life I intended to lead, Mr. Wulfson. It was one that I fell into unwittingly. It's not a world I understand on any but the most fundamental of levels," she explains, in regards to the shadows, in general.
Zoey slowly steps a little closer to the edge of the balcony as she listens to this little bit of exposition, which brought back a few painful memories in her. But they were only that. Memories. She dismisses them.. "I am sorry to hear that, Mr. Wulfson." Zoey sounds very sincere when she says this.. as though by feeling sorry enough, she could somehow undo it. Obviously, she didn't have such power. "Ms. Blaire, Mr. Slinger.. Collegues of yours," she says, sounding like a both a statement and question at the same time. ".. and where do I fit into all that, Mr. Wulfson?"
Why did he bring her all the way up here. Dinner… or.

"Ms. Blair more so than Mr. Slinger. Mr. Slinger has only just returned… but I will be enlightening him to the full scope of the situation soon enough. AS to where you fit in?" He glances over at her, pulling out another cigarette. He offers one over to the woman, a Marlboro Red.

"Not sure yet. You obviously want to do something. To help somehow in a way that matters more than patching up thugs or setting broken fingers. You've got your past, got your own history that leaves you with psychological and emotional issues I have yet to investgiate or explore. I had…" he glances back to her.

"I had wanted… more time to get to know you. Sound you out. You caught me off guard tonight. That doesn't happen often."

Zoey brings her thumb up to her lower lip again, contemplating. Finally at the edge of the patio, Zoey sets her arms forward, palms down on whatever sort of railing exists, looking down over the edge. "I'm a doctor, Mr. Wulfson." Zoey's tone is slowly returning to a more normal one, the extreme, negative stimulus from before receding, her composure returning. ".. all I ever wanted to do was work in some hospital somewhere, practicing my trade. Scrubs, Mr. Wulfson. Not milspec personal body armour. So the moral of that story is that things don't always go the way we want. Something you and I are familiar with, obviously. We all have our demons to struggle."
Zoey does turn her head to look at Johny more fully now, her intelligent, green eyes suddenly tinged with a look of vague surprise. "Mr. Wulfson, one must always expect the unexpected. But here it seems fate has cut short our foreplay," she says. AHHAHA. Sexual Innuendo. See? Likely completely intentional.

Full safety rails exist, circling the area. The view is 50 stories. Straight down.

"Expecting the unexpected is my job, it's what I do. Thats why you caught me off guard. I had planned only for a nice dinner. A get-to-know you. Maybe a little flirting. Maybe some conversation. Maybe a chance to be…" He exhales… "Human. Without pretension."

"But, as I am so often reminded, Zoey, I gave up my humanity." He looks back to the city. "So they don't have to. Not a cross, and I'm not nailed to it. It's just the role in life I have. I don't dislike my role." He says with a little chuckle. "Just that it's so goddamn lonely at times."

Zoey does, now, finally feel perhaps just the slightest tinge of regret for denying Johny this decidedly simple pleasure that he seemed to want so much. ".. I was.. Doing what I felt I had to do. What I needed to do to. I was trapped in a tapestry of intrigue, and I felt I needed to rip it apart to retain some semblence of.. normalcy. I didn't mean it as a personal attack against you." Sigh sighs deeply, the sound of regret is faint, but there definitely. "It was a lovely dinner," she adds.
"I guess you'll just have to forgive me, Mr. Wulfson. It truly is just the way I am," she says, looking at him again candidly. It could be seen as a quality every bit as much a fault in her.

Johny looks back to Zoey. "Well." he says, lighting another cigarette out here in the cold wind of the Denver night. "I'll just have to cook for you again, and we'll pretend, in that moment, that tonight never happened. We'll make jokes about books we've read, give furtive glances, maybe a sub layer of sexual tension, and then both go home unsatisfied but fulfilled and refreshed."

Zoey smirks at that, some of her good humor returning. "It seems as though you prepare your evenings with woman as carefully and with as much consideration as a chicken vindeloo," she says, sighing. Sighing a long, unwinding noise that does much to release her anxiety. "Perhaps next time you can lay on a couch and allow me to be your Freud," she offers, non-seriously.
Peering down into the Denver city one last time, she turns away from the edge of the balcony, hands folded into her pants. She looked like the more traditional Zoey Einhart. Steady, confident. In control of her life. Honest perhaps to a fault, and maybe kind when the situation warrants. "I guess where we go from here is a story yet to be told." She looks around the balcony a moment, then back to Johny. "It's rather breezy up here. Perhaps the remains of a luke-warm meal could help before I return to the comfort of my medical journals at home."

"No. Just you." He admits, moving back in to the building. "You managed to hit my buttons. Capable. Knowledgeable. A lover of literature and appreciation for the printed word. Fit. Attractive. But most importantly…" He glances back to her as he opens the door. "Interesting" He taps his forehead. He will lead her back inside, eating with her, then packing the left overs in tupperware for her to take home.

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